JAL completes first Boeing 787 flight into U.S.

By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

Commercial flights on a Boeing Co. 787 have come to the United States, courtesy of Japan Airlines.

The carrier began 787 passenger service into Boston with flight 8 Sunday. The nonstop flight departed from Tokyo’s Narita airport and touched down in Boston at 8:37 a.m. Pacific time, marking the first commercial flight of a 787 into America.

Japan Airlines (JAL) was the second airline to take delivery of an Everett-assembled 787. Boeing delivered the first Dreamliner jet to JAL rival All Nippon Airways last September. But ANA has yet to begin 787 flights into the United States, using 787s for service within Japan, to other points in Asia and to Europe.

JAL’s 787 was in Boston about three hours before taking off as flight 7 for the return to Tokyo, where it was scheduled to arrive at 12:45 a.m. Pacific time on Monday. The carrier will offer flights between Boston and Tokyo four days a week through the end of May and begin daily service in June.

Businesses around Boston anticipate an economic boost from the carrier’s new service. The 12- to 13-hour nonstop flight will make it easier for Asian tourists to visit the East Coast.

Boeing’s mostly composite 787 offers better fuel economy for airlines and a more comfortable experience for passengers. The jet maker has won more than 800 orders for the Dreamliner and is looking to speed up 787 production.

The beginning of 787 service in the United States also kicks off a busy week for Boeing. The Chicago-based company reports first-quarter earnings Wednesday.

Boeing also will roll out the first 787 built in South Carolina on Friday. The company decided in 2009 to add a second 787 production line in North Charleston.